Friday 27 May 2011

fresh air friday

 It's Chelsea week again.
There has been lots of talk
 about gardening for wildlife.
I'm already doing my bit,
so here is the part of the garden that 
I call the wild.
 It's hard to believe its little more than a year 
since I began digging this area.
It's the shady side of the garden,
so I've used woodlandish plants.
It's also intended to be low cost,
with mainly plants already growing in the garden
like this rhododendron (which the bees love),
but also selfsown plants and plants I've divided.
 So there are ferns and hostas from my Mums garden.
 Self sown vebascum mullein.
 Primula bulleyana
 I love their silvery stems topped with the orange buds!
 White foxgloves 
a throw back from free seeds three years ago.
This is becoming my favourite spot in the garden,
maybe because of the lack of gardening needed,
it's just so relaxing..
and goes to prove you don't need a fortune to create
a show lovely garden.
And the rewards for wildlife gardening..
the wildlife of course!
I love the chirps of baby birds especially black birds.
Looks like the weather maybe a little dodgy this weekend,
but to be truthful
'the garden needs it!'

Have a great weekend everyone!

still suffering with the worst hayfever
since records began!
this garden might turn into an all green affair...

Wednesday 25 May 2011

wednesday workshop - easy sugar flowers

Now for something completely different!
As promised when I learn a new skill I like to pass it on.
Especially one so simple yet so stunning.
I am lucky enough to have a friend who is learning
all things cakey.
She lent me her tools of the trade,
thanks Rachel.
These really did help me,
though I imagine you could find the equivalent
if you rummage about the house.
I used Squires sugar florist paste, 
which is suitable for making flowers
as it dries rock hard.
Available at your local cake shop,
as is the gold dust.
Warm up some sugar paste in your hands,
keeping the rest in the sealed bag,
dust your surface with cornflour,
roll out thinly
(I think I made mine a bit thick)
cut out your flower.
Here is where a pallet knife comes in handy to scoop them up.
Then use a round ended tool
to gently press out the petals one at a time.
You will find if you drag into the centre this will form a flower shape.
To help keep their form, or to mould them more
I used an egg box to hold them in until they were dry,
which took about a day, 
though they begin to harden straight away.
Here is the bigger flower,
which is like a dog rose.
Before the flowers were dry I added the centre pieces
which I stuck on with water.
Using the gold dust mixed with vodka/alcohol
I used a paintbrush to apply it to the edges and the centres.
I did have an issue with the gold tarnishing,
so I had to re-paint on the day.
There are lots of gorgeous colours to choose from,
just imagine pink or red...
The cakes were ordered from M&S
and the colour match was really good.
I used royal icing from a packet
to glue the flowers on,
just make it nice and thick so you don't get any sliders
As you know I was copying a 50 year old design
hence the bells.
Which I also made using a bell mould, 
and the 50 was made using my Nigella cookie cutters
With help from Rachel and you tube,
I found making this a dream,
I could spend all day making sugar flowers
its so relaxing!!
And believe me it really is that simple.
I did this myself because I had
a bad experience in a cake shop,
where the assistant said it would cost me £300!!!
Well I don't think we would have been happy
especially with her uninterested attitude.
I'm glad..I think I made a good job!
The cost of this two tiered cake plus two extra cutting cakes was approx £80.
(incl decorations)
I can highly recommend M&S cakes to
very yummy...

ps. anyone want any flowers made let me know!!

Monday 23 May 2011

almost a quilt

Here at last is a sneak peek at the quilt
very nearly a full functioning bed adornment.
 I really didn't enjoy the number of hours it took me to remove the papers,
though their flights of fancy round the garden amused me.
 I have to say I've never enjoyed a good iron so much!
And if I could I would have left this top as flat as a pancake,
but needs must.

 I have backed it with a piece of old duvet.
Before any one wants to lecture me on the
rules of quilting,
(I've had this happen)
I would like to say that quilts 
were originally made from recycling old unusable fabric,
there were no 'quilt shops' back in the olden days.
I like using one whole piece of backing,
I'm not into back piecing,
for one who's going to see it?
and two I've just made the quilt top,
you really think I want to make a back piece?!
I remembered this old duvet cover that we stopped using,
it's fine, it's recycling it's turquoise and it didn't cost me a penny!
Okay I'm done..I thankyou.
 When basting I need the television!
It's too uncomfortable and dull not to have 
some kind of distraction.
Mine was a recorded programme
about British landscape artists,
I love art and I've decided to gain more
arty knowledge this year,
I may even go back to college.
 Anyway with the Augustus John thing on
I began.
Wadding wise I am using
heirloom 80% cotton 20% polyester.
(the lemon meringue sample)
First I pinned with safety pins,
then tacked it together with thread,
folding it over as I sewed.
 With the pins removed I got on to quilting.
And here we have the dilemma.
After many hours of research I came up with a
straight line..
Before you all gasp in horror,
(believe me I've done a lot of gasping)
let me give my reasoning, before casting judgement on my wicked ways.
 1. This is my first big attempt at machine quilting
2. I am still very much a novice
3. I had a stinking cold, 
so not entirely responsible for my actions
4. I'm a lazy a@s
5. The real reason:
after basting I found a few seams had pulled apart,
due to 
some rubbish sewing!
 the vintage/new mix of fabrics.
I felt it all needed some secure quilting,
I fear this quilt is a little fragile
and certainly will never be machine washed!
 So here it is..
I do feel a bit peeved annoyed
with myself, for not waiting.
But you know when the moment takes you,
even with a fuzzy head full of cold.
I think with the reasons I've given 
I should be able to forgive myself.
And at the end of the day it's still a nice quilt.
So I was going to sew diagonals the other way too,
what do you think?
I'm swaying right now.
Just binding left now,
I think it has to be turquoise or white,
I'm not sure?
I'd love to know what you think?

If you love this quilt pattern 
there is a group on flickr
if you would like to see more.
Jessica from life under quilts
is writing an update this week and is also sewing an awesome
hand pieced quilt!

Friday 20 May 2011

fresh air friday

 Thanks for your get well wishes
I'm sure I'm not alone with this cold thing,
the flowers are blooming for me today
and not just in my garden :O(

I cannot stop taking photos this week,
so I shall let you peruse my choices 
and discuss after.

 Another fantastic display of lupins this year
(all grown by seed!!)
I thought the white one looked like 
Gaudis cathedral in Barcelona!

feeding time at the zoo!
 This plant self seeded by my front door,
the flower was a lovely purple thing,
but these seed heads..well?!
They are about the size of a tennis ball,
any ideas?
I have been enjoying the garden for sure this year!
I'm really very excited at how things are 
changing for the better year on year.
And I cant wait for even more maturity.

Stuff I've done this week:

Pruned shrubs to shape and to invigorate growth.
Tied in growing ends of the grape vine.
Planted out butternut squash.
Eaten lots of peppery salad and turnips.
Sprayed aphids with washing up liquid solution.
Fed rhododendron, ericaceous liquid feed.
Pruned new plum tree
(normally done in June, due to silver leaf disease
my garden thinks its June so meh!)
Thinned out apples.
Covered strawberries.

Thursday 19 May 2011

summer of love v summer cold

Good morning folks.
The sun has returned which is cheering me up no end.
I'm pretty sure I have a cold,
I'm not totally convinced,
it could be hay fever.
Though I'm taking tablets and I still feel rough!
Apparently it's a bad year for allergies.
With the celebrations and the doings past
I can concentrate (a little) on the quilt.
Oh geez
let me tell you
the taking out of the papers is 
draining my will to live!!

Monday 16 May 2011

to have and to hold..

It is with much happiness that I can announce 
a 50th wedding anniversary!
My husbands lovely parents 
Pat and Ron,
whom we celebrated with on Saturday night.
Maybe not the best picture,
(a few too many beers perhaps!)
but this ladys is wearing one of
the original bridesmaid dresses
made by Pats Mum.
Its very fifties stylewise
amazing really that it's survived in perfect 
condition after 50 years!
 So this is their surprise cake I've been toiling over
for the past few weeks.
I wanted to emulate their original cake,
I think with a bit of artistic licence,
I pulled it off.
 I made all the decorations,
M&S made the cakes!
(I can highly recommend them)
 I shall be posting how I made these
easy flowers at a later date.
 Here are the biscuits I made.
The zero at the top is the only one that got an iced squiggle...
..two hours later and here they are all wrapped!
After fifty years together
what a blessing they found each other 
all those years ago..
..a bit like me and the squiggle cookie!!!
Out of 70 this is the one I received.
I just cant get away from different can I!!

Many Congratulations to all celebrating anniversaries
may you one day be celebrating fifty fabulous years
together too!

Friday 13 May 2011

friday frenzy

 Good evening fellow bloggers and new found friends.
It seem that blogger has lost my saved post,
so I shall keep this short.
Thank you Lynne for my guest post on your blog,
I had 580 Hits on my blog
 Tomorrow we are having a party for my in-laws
50th Anniversary.
So today I have been frantically making and baking.
70  fives and 70 Os cookies!
I am decorating their cake, 
though I didn't bake it.
(M&S did)
So this is a quick view today
though there's so much to share!
Have a great weekend.